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ABI proposes radical rethink for young drivers
New drivers should learn for a minimum of one year before being allowed to take a driving test, says the Association of British Insurers.
It’s one of a package of proposals being put forward by the ABI to try and reduce the disproportionately high accident rate among the 17-24 age group.
The ABI is also calling for a stricter alcohol limit on young drivers, restrictions on night time driving, and ‘graduated’ licensing – which would see a limit on the number of passengers a newly-qualified driver can carry in the first six months after passing the test.
A similar approach has been adopted in other countries including New Zealand and Canada – and Northern Ireland already has plans to do the same.
In its report, the UK’s insurance industry body claims that an 18 year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48-year-old driver – and that one in three road fatalities occur among under 25s – despite that age group representing just one in eight licence holders.
Otto Thoresen, ABI’s Director General, said:
“Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group. A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving.”
“Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs.
Other measures recommended by the ABI to cut the number of injuries, deaths and claims, include: banning intensive driving courses which can see learners pass in just one week; lowering the age at which learner drivers can get behind the wheel to 16 and a half; and a night-time driving curfew between 11pm and 4am – driving to a workplace or college would be exempt from this restriction, though.
The ABI stops short of recommending motorway training in the proposals though – at the moment no formal motorway training is included in the driving test.
Speaking to Radio 4 this morning, AA President Edmund King said driver training needs to start earlier:
“We’d like to see more intensive courses before young people get on the road. There’s an under 17s car club that shows people that have done training from the age of 12 or 13 have half the accident rates of those that don’t do those courses – they have less convictions too.”
King also recommended the wider use of telematics, or ‘black boxes’ – which monitor driving style and can reduce premiums for the most careful drivers.
What do you think of the proposals – good idea or too heavy heavy-handed? Let us know.
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